Pokémon Go Introduces New Fans to Street Art
Pokémon Go, the new interactive gaming app that is taking smartphones everywhere by storm, has given street art from Banksy to less well known graffiti artists, a prominent role in the phenomenon.
The new augmented reality smartphone game, based on the 1990s card-collecting craze, is a runaway success. It has already added $9 billion to the Nintendo market value, according to the Wall Street Journal, despite only having launched in July and still being available in just four countries – the USA, the UK, Australia and New Zealand. It also has more active users than popular social media and dating apps including Tinder, Twitter and Instagram, bringing in over $1.6 million per day.
Users are tasked with getting out and about to collect pokemon, – which, by using their smartphone’s camera appear in front of them on their mobile phone screen, as if they were there in real life, thanks to AR – and collecting a number of objects and points along the way at designated ‘pokestops’.
In addition to stopping by bars, historical sites and parks, gamers are also being encouraged to visit a number of contemporary and street art installations which have been appointed pokestops. This type of interaction could potentially open up the oeuvre to a wider audience than ever before, and open people’s eyes to urban art in their area that they may not have noticed before.
Whilst some of the pieces are helpfully accompanied by on-screen details of the artwork such as the artist’s name, the title of the piece and its significance, many are simply named according to what the piece looks like so a little googling is required in some cases in order to find out more.
Artists around the world, including Frank Ape, Robots Will Kill and Ron English have shared images of their work as pokestops on instagram to ensure fans know to check them out.
During a brief walk around East London street art mecca Shoreditch, we found a number of street art pokestops featuring works by the likes of D*Face, Syd and photo artist Fauxreel.
One major flaw to using street art as pokestops, however, comes back to the argument over whether urban art is temporary or should be preserved. Despite the game only having launched in the UK a week ago, many of the artworks featured are no longer present, having been removed or painted or wheatpasted over. Your pokemon map will still show you the geographical location of each stop and when you are close to one so you won’t miss out on collecting any pokeballs, but you might miss out on what you were expecting to see. You may, however, see something even better!
Here are just a few of the current Pokémon Go street art stops in to look out for in and around Shoreditch… (click to enlarge)
1 Artista ‘Flying Toast’ – 2 Osch shop shutter artwork – 3 Roa ‘Rat’ – 4 D*Face ‘Flying Bomb’ Truman Brewery installation – 5 DScreet ‘Black Sabbath Owl’ – 6 Plin face – 7 Banksy ‘In Tesco We Trust’ – 8 Otto Schade ‘Dangerous Harvest’ – 9 Fauxreel ‘Ali Shire’